Greg Rucka’s Lazarus has finally returned from a very long hiatus in a new format. Starting with this issue, Lazarus: Risen #1, the series has switched to a quarterly comic with triple the page count. So in effect, you are getting the equivalent of twelve monthly issues a year, just four times a year instead. I’m perfectly fine with this format, as long as the release of the comic remains consistent.
When I did an interview with Greg Rucka at Thought Bubble near the end of last year, I asked him what to expect in Lazarus: Risen #1. He told me he wants to give people a little extra bang for their buck and he didn’t disappoint at all. In this issue, we get more fantastic in-universe propaganda posters and back matter, a short story by the wonderful Lilah Sturges, and the RPG stats of Casey Solomon for the newly released Lazarus RPG system from Green Ronin.
Greg Rucka Lets Lazarus: Risen #1 Breathe
When it was announced a few months ago that what would have been Lazarus #29 was going to now be called Lazarus: Risen #1, I was fearful. I was afraid that this was going to be nothing but a new jumping on point for a series that has been running for many years. When I had talked to Rucka, he had said that there were no plans to renumber. Thankfully, this seems to be entirely a marketing decision and has had no bearing on the story.
Lazarus: Risen #1 is not a jumping on point. It assumes you’ve been reading Lazarus this entire time and doesn’t stop for a second to explain the complicated politics of this dystopic world. Which in my opinion, is wonderful. It jumps right back in with the characters that we have grown to both hate and love and continues the building mysteries of the series. It does feature a time jump, however. But with the X+66 miniseries and the prequel issues of Lazarus #27–28, we know many of the problems at hand two years later. And with that said time jump, Eve is now almost as old as Forever was when the series began. This will prove to be interesting in the future.
What is intriguing about the page count increase is that Greg Rucka’s writing style now has room to breathe. He is a very character driven writer who is known for very emotionally honest dialogue scenes. He elongates these scenes to several pages when normally they wouldn’t last more than four at most. This makes what already felt like a comic paced like a television series become even more like one. Quite apropos considering that Amazon is adapting it for their streaming service.
Michael Lark’s Realistic Style Always Works
Michael Lark’s art is always phenomenal. Much like Rucka, I have been following his work since the time I first picked up a comic. His use of heavy black lines on his characters to make them seem natural but still pop out from the background is fantastic. His frequent use of photo references pays off as the realism of the art, even for stuff that seems like the realm of impossible science fiction, is seen clearly. Everything is hyper-detailed and feels like it really exists.
The Back Matter Provides Insight
The back matter has always been fun and insightful in the Lazarus series. Lazarus: Risen #1 does not disappoint as is expected from Greg Rucka and his amazing creative team. Lilah Sturges delivers a fantastic prose short story that takes an interesting turn. Following an ordinary line cook named Ginger who inadvertently gets involved in the life of one Johanna Carlyle. It’s interesting to see how another writer takes these characters and this world and manages to adapt it to another medium in quite a spectacular fashion.
The world and characters of Lazarus are harsh and brutal, and I can’t get enough of them. Lilah Sturges also manages to make Johanna the scariest we have ever seen her, and that’s truly saying something. The supplements for the Lazarus RPG system are much appreciated by me. I play RPG’s regularly and even am the Game Master of several games for my friends. Now, I get the opportunity to introduce this world and these characters to them in a medium they will like to experience. Hopefully, this will lead them to picking up this amazing comic.
Go Buy Lazarus: Risen #1. Family Above All.
Lazarus: Risen #1 is a fast-paced issue that gets the ball rolling on what will hopefully be a more consistent release schedule. Lazarus is my favorite modern comic book series, and Lazarus: Risen #1 reminded me how much I have been missing it. Just go out and get this issue, this is speculative science fiction dystopia storytelling at it’s finest. The political ramifications ring true to the world we are currently living in and the characters are so well developed that they truly feel real. That is the power of Greg Rucka.